The 2022-23 Los Angeles Clippers’ Season Preview
September 22nd, 2022
By Alan Lu
Last year, the Clippers were hamstrung by the fact that Kawhi Leonard was unable to play due to a knee injury, so they were without their best player for the whole season. Paul George was injured for most of the season, but came back in the second half, albeit he was a little rusty and didn’t play up to his normal superstar self, save for a few strong performances late in the regular season.
The Clippers struggled all season long, but they managed to reach the play-in tournament. Somewhat surprisingly, they lost to the Clippers in their first game with Paul George, and then George missed the next game due to being out due to health and safety protocols. As a result, the Clippers blew a big lead and lost to the upstart New Orleans Pelicans led by Brandon Ingram, C.J. McCollum, and rookie head coach Willie Green.
The Clippers will look to recover by getting a fully healthy Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this time around, but they’ll have to manage a difficult balancing act of load managing to keep them healthy and to stave off other teams to make it to the playoffs in 2023. The hot and cold Clippers were able to get to the Western Conference Finals in 2021 as they had defeated the Utah Jazz in the second round without Kawhi, but they have never reached the NBA Finals. They’re hoping that will change for the better with a fully healthy Kawhi and Paul George, as neither have been fully healthy together for a full postseason with Tyronn Lue as the head coach.
Kawhi Leonard is a tremendously skilled forward that does everything well when healthy, and he is a future Hall of Famer that has won NBA championships both with the San Antonio Spurs and the Toronto Raptors. He’s been very injury prone in the past five NBA seasons, and he’s played just 178 regular season games in that time span. He’s a great player when he’s on the court, but the Clippers will need him to be fully healthy come playoff time.
Paul George is a very athletic, skilled forward whose versatility and strong all-around play makes him a very good player on the court when healthy. While he didn’t quite shoot as well last year, he thrived as a playmaker and defender, and he’s been able to take over games more when healthy for the Clippers. Like Kawhi, they’ll need to keep George healthy for the playoffs to ensure any hope of title contention.
G John Wall
He is a speedy, but oft-injured scoring point guard that sat out last year after the Houston Rockets told him that they wanted him to sit out the season in a bid to play their younger players more. Wall hasn’t been at the superstar level that he was at years ago, but he can still thrive as a playmaker and defender when healthy, and can provide some scoring skills, so he could help the Clippers in a reduced role this season.
The Clippers lost two backups on their team, but the player that they’ll miss the most is their former backup center Isaiah Hartenstein, who thrived as a per-minute big man off the bench.
Preston missed all of last season due to a foot injury, but he is a tall, skilled point guard that can shoot and pass the basketball. He’s only an average athlete and isn’t particularly explosive, but his offensive skills and basketball IQ could allow him to be a reliable, game-managing point guard for the Clippers off the bench.
Diabate is a very athletic, energetic big man that will make hustle plays, but he’s struggled to be consistent in games, and he is a project player that will likely spend most of the season shuttling back and forth between the NBA and the G-League this year.
Projected Starting Lineup:
Key Bench Players:
G-F Terance Mann
G-F Luke Kennard
The Rest of the Roster (projected to make the team):
C Moses Brown (Exhibit 10)
F-C Moussa Diabaté (Two-Way)
Others in Camp:
G Xavier Moon (Exhibit 10)
G Keaton Wallace (Exhibit 10)
G Michael Devoe (Exhibit 10)
G Lucas Williamson (Exhibit 10)
2021-22 (LAC): 42-40, missed the playoffs
Career: 217-148, 51-29 in the NBA Playoffs, 1 NBA title as a head coach
Tyronn Lue is a very good coach that helped the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers win the NBA championship. He also led the 2021 Los Angeles Clippers to get to the Western Conference Finals, even when Kawhi got hurt midway through postseason play. The Clippers were hampered by injuries last year, but now with both of his superstars back and ready to play, he will have them ready to go to lead them back into the playoffs.
The Los Angeles Clippers barely missed the playoffs last year, as they had trouble staying healthy all year with Paul George missing considerable time, and Kawhi Leonard having been out due to a knee injury. But they’ve proven that they are a formidable title contender when healthy, and Leonard and George will be ready to go this time around at the start of the upcoming NBA season.
That’s definitely good news for the Clippers and their fans. They are in a tough Western Conference where one good NBA team will be left out of the playoffs, but the Clippers have proven their mettle that they could very well be in the mix not only to make it to the playoffs, but to also make a deep run in the postseason, as long as they have everyone healthy by the 2023 NBA Playoffs.
Projected 2022-23 Win-Loss Record and Finish:
Projected Regular Season Finish: 43-39, 8th in the Western Conference
Expected Playoff Finish: Projected to win in the play-in tournament to get the 7th seed into the playoffs, projected to lose in the 2nd Round to Golden State
I went to Basketball-Reference and Spotrac to look up some information for this write-up. It will be an exciting basketball season this year, and the NBA season will start on October 18th. Thank you for reading my write-up of the 2023 Los Angeles Clippers.